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About the Left Hand

At the moment I have the time to dive into a book that I’ve wanted to read for a few years now. The Natural Classical Guitarby Lee F. Ryan happened to be the my school’s library, so I grabbed it!

I came across this passage on page 100 and laughed out loud, but it makes a great point.

“An important adjunct to the Play-Relax approach for the left hand is a technique that violinist Yehudi Menuhin calls ‘Pussyfooting.’ Pussyfooting on the guitar, as the name so graphically suggests, means that, with the exception of ascending slurs [aka. Hammer-ons], the left hand fingers should not be slammed against the fingerboard as if pounding nails. Rather the fingers should be allowed to fall gracefully of their own weight onto the board and then the required pressure should be applied. Even ascending slurs should not be any more forceful than absolutely necessary. This ‘pussyfooting’ approach saves the player much energy and cultivates greater left-hand sensitivity and accuracy.”

-Lee F. Ryan

Do the least amount of effort possible to achieve the desired results. I tell all my students this in a much more simplified way: be lazy. Young students love it when you tell them that!

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